Foiled Again!

Genesis 3:15 - I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.

Genesis 22:17-18a - I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies, and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 49:10a - The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

2 Samuel 7:16 - Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.

Isaiah 9:6 - For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon his shoulders; and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

"Foiled again" is an expression that comes from the sport of fencing, and refers to the one who is losing the duel. It is used as an expression for yet another frustrating defeat, after many attempts to attain a victory. "Foiled again" could certainly describe Satan's attempts to hinder the purposes of God in human history! Ever since he was cast down from his position as the most highly favored of God's angels (Ezekiel 28:11-19), Satan has schemed and worked to oppose God, attempting a variety of evil strategies to triumph in the cosmic "fencing match"--but never attaining victory!

As we trace the history of Satan's attempts to oppose God throughout the Old Testament, we find that his various strategies are directly related to his increasing knowledge of God's plans and purposes, as that information was gradually revealed by God to man through promise and prophecy. Satan isnot omniscient--he only knows what God has revealed. Satan was not privy to the eternal plans of God.

Ephesians 1:9-10 refers to God's will for the future as a mystery. A mystery in Scripture, by definition, is some plan or program of God that is concealed until God chooses to reveal it. Satan could not foresee the virgin birth or the birthplace and identity of the Redeemer until these truths were revealed by God through the prophets. As God's plans were unfolded, Satan re-focused his wicked schemes to block them. It is most interesting (and almost amusing!) to follow the masterly methods used by God to foil Satan's plots, turning Satan's own strategies against Satan. God triumphs, His plans and promises are preserved, and Satan is foiled again and again!

A Human "Head-Crusher"

Satan's first attempt to disrupt God's purposes occurred in the Garden of Eden. His design was to entice the first man and woman to disobey God, thereby ruining the harmonious relationship between God and the people He had created in His image. But Satan's strategy was foiled when God declared that the "seed of the woman" would be his undoing! Ever since the edict of Eden, Satan has known that he is a defeated foe, and although he would be able to bruise the heel of God's promised One, this special Human would "crush his head" (Genesis 3:15).

From God's edict, Satan knew that his defeat would come through the human race, because God revealed that the "Head-crusher" would be from the "seed of the woman." At this point, however, Satan had no idea that God Himselfwould become that perfect human! All Satan knew from the edict of Eden was that his ultimate defeat would come through a member of the human race. Therefore Satan's next attempt to thwart the plans and purposes of God was to do all he could to annihilate the human race. Undoubtedly Satan was involved in Cain's murder of Abel. Maybe he hoped that he could entice the whole human race to use murder to settle jealous disputes, and thus kill themselves off! (See Genesis 4:23-24.)

Although this attempt failed, most likely Genesis 6:1-8 describes Satan's next strategic move to destroy the human race. This time it appears that his plan was to genetically corrupt the human line so that it was no longer truly human! Although there have been various interpretations of the "sons of God" (Genesis 6:2,4), other Scriptures seem to indicate that the "sons of God" were fallen angels who left the angelic realm and had relations with human women. (See Jude 6-7 and 2 Peter 2:4.) The products of these unions would not have been true man and woman, created by God in His image. In only a few generations, this strategy would have genetically altered and corrupted the human race, destroying the possibility of a "head-crusher" who would be fully human. But Satan was foiled again! The Flood of God's judgment, the result of God's wrath against sin, not only destroyed the wickedness on this earth--it preserved the true human race in Noah and his family!

A Jewish Messiah

With the call of Abraham, Satan learned that his predicted conqueror would come through the family line of Abraham. God's promise to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, was that all the earth would be blessed through his seed and that his seed would conquer any enemy. (See Genesis 12:1-3 and 22:16-18.) So Satan began to concentrate his efforts on eliminating the Jewish people. Satan is the source of antisemitism! Long before the Holocaust, Satan made many attempts to eliminate the Jewish people.

For example, while the Jewish people were in captivity in Egypt we read that Pharaoh tried systematically to murder every Jewish male baby. This Satanically-inspired attempt was foiled when God had Pharaoh's own daughter save the life of the Jewish baby, Moses, and God used Moses to bring His people out of Egypt!

Another example of Satan's attempts to annihilate the Jewish race comes to us from the book of Esther. Wicked Haman was able to persuade the Persian king to sign an edict "to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews" (Esther 3:13). But Satan was foiled again: God placed beautiful Queen Esther, a Jew, in the perfect position to speak to the king on behalf of her people! Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Esther's godly mentor, Mordecai.

Even though Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, has already come and Satan knows it's only a matter of time until he's consigned forever to Hell, his attempts to harass and destroy the Jewish people continue. From prophetic Scripture, he knows that Christ's future kingdom and glory is tied in with the miraculous preservation of the Jews as a distinct and privileged people of God. (See Romans 11.)

A King from Judah

Through the blessing of God upon Jacob's sons, the tribes of Israel, Satan learned that the promised "Peace-bringer" or "Shiloh" would come through the tribe of Judah, and that he would be a king (Genesis 49:10). Thus Satan's attempts to get rid of the Jewish people included concentrated attacks on the kings of Judah, since he would logically have concluded that his defeat would come through the promised "peace-bringer" of Judah's kingly line.

The first king from the line of Judah to ascend the throne of Israel was David. Even before David became king and before God promised that his dynasty would never be overthrown (2 Samuel 7), Satan tried to do away with David. Satan probably thought that God had miscalculated when He sent a shepherd boy with a slingshot against Satan's well-armed pagan giant, Goliath! Foiled again! And Satan was certainly behind King Saul's attempts to kill David on several occasions. (See 1 Samuel 19.) But Satan was foiled again and again as God protected David.

Probably the most concentrated Satanic attack on the kings in the line of David took place during the time of wicked Queen Athaliah (See 2 Chronicles 21-22.) Evil King Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah, the daughter of the notorious King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel. "Like mother, like daughter," the widowed Athaliah tried to seize and secure the throne of Judah for herself when her son, King Ahaziah, was killed. In order to accomplish her wicked goal she ordered that all her grandchildren who were in line for the throne be killed! She almost succeeded, but baby Joash, the only remaining direct link to the kingly Davidic line, was rescued and hidden in the Temple. For six years the wicked Queen Mother was able to usurp the throne, but Satan was foiled again when, at the age of seven, Joash was brought forth from hiding and crowned as the king of Judah! God's promise of a Redeemer from the kingly Davidic line was preserved, and Satan was foiled again!

A Divine Ruler

During the time of the Old Testament prophets Satan came to realize much more about the coming "Head-crusher." He learned he would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He was probably able to discern that the coming One would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and he was certainly wise enough to determine the approximate date of His birth from an analysis of Daniel's prophetic time-table (Daniel 9).

When did Satan learn that his conqueror would be the incarnate Son of God? Although we can't say for sure, Isaiah's prophecy that the Promised One would be called "Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (9:6), would certainly have revealed this incredible truth! What a shock for Satan to learn that the Head-crusher would be a human being who was God Himself! Satan had probably reasoned that there would never be a human who could take away his power over death. It would have been beyond his wildest ideas to imagine that it would be through the death of the perfect God/human that he would lose his power and be defeated! (See Hebrews 2:14-18.)

So when Jesus Christ was born, Satan had no doubts about His identity! As a result, right from Christ's birth until His crucifixion on a pagan Roman cross, Satan made every attempt he possibly could to destroy the Son of God. But all of his attempts backfired and he was outsmarted, no matter what people or events he used.

He was foiled when he manipulated King Herod to kill all the babies in Bethlehem--the Lord Jesus was safely in Egypt (Matthew 2:13-16).

Satan was foiled when he tried to have Jesus thrown over a cliff. The Lord Jesus walked away unharmed because "His hour had not yet come" (Luke 4:28-30).

Satan was foiled again when he attempted to drown Jesus and his disciples during a storm of the Sea of Galilee, but his plan backfired when Jesus used this event to "showcase" His power and control over nature!

Satan was foiled when he had the self-righteous Pharisees endeavor to stone Jesus (John 8:59 and 10:31), or attempt to seize Him (John 10:39 and 11:57) or plot to kill Him (John 8:40 and 11:53). Satan was certainly behind these, and other, attempts of the Pharisees to do away with Jesus--in fact, Jesus Himself described those evil men as being "of their father, the devil (John 8:44), and "doing the deeds of their father" (v40)!

The Lamb of God

Satan was foiled again at the cross of Christ. The death of Jesus Christ was the last of numerous satanic attempts to do away with his predicted conqueror. The prophecy of Genesis 3 that Satan would "bruise his heel" meant that Satan would be involved in the Redeemer's suffering and death.

As Jesus breathed His last on that Roman cross, Satan must have gloated, thinking that he had done away with the Son of God. From the sacrificial language of the messianic prophecies, as well as from John the Baptist's announcement of the "Lamb of God," it is possible that Satan reasoned that Jesus would in some way give His life up in a ceremonial way, as the sacrificial Lamb of God in the Temple area. By arranging a pagan Roman crucifixion, away from the Temple area and outside the walls of the holy city, Satan was probably convinced that he had thwarted God's plans of the atonement, and avoided his own defeat.

The Lord's cry on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46) must have convinced Satan that he had finally triumphed over God. Little did he realize that, in the hidden eternal councils of God, it was ordained that the Lamb of God would not be sacrificed on a Jewish altar in the Temple area, but upon a Roman cross. There God Himself accomplished the ultimate, eternal plan for the redemption of mankind; there the Lamb of God fulfilled the promise to "take away the sins of the world!" And there "the prince of this world was cast out" (John 12:31).

Three days later Satan's premature wicked gloating was cut short by the shocking news that Jesus was alive! The "Head-crusher" had triumphed! Hebrews 2:14 indicates that "through death He rendered powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." Satan's head was crushed at the cross of Christ, where his "master strategy" resulted in his complete and ultimate defeat! Satan was foiled again!

An Empowered Church

Although he is a defeated foe who knows his end, and his power is limited, Satan's attempts to hinder God's plans continue. As Satan, along with other fallen "rulers and authorities," learn of the eternal purposes of God and "the manifold wisdom of God" as it is being "made known through the church" (Ephesians 3:10), he schemes to oppose God in every way he can. He is busy trying to take as much glory away from the Lord Jesus Christ as possible. He disrupts fellowship and tempts believers to sin. And he is trying to drag as many people as possible to eternal judgment with him by putting up intellectual and physical roadblocks between them and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

But God has empowered the church, the body of Christ, to assault the very gates of hell and snatch people out of Satan's clutches (Matthew 16:18), plucking them as "brands from the fire" (Zechariah 3:2). Praise God, Satan's schemes will continue to be foiled again and again! Ultimate victory has been won by our Lord Jesus Christ! "Foiled again!" may be an outdated expression, but it is timeless in reference to Satan and his strategy.

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